"A massive empty hole appeared ,perfectly symmetrical in shape , with a young man ,with his arm outstretched straight and his fingers touching the sides like electrical contact brushes walking around and around in a trance like state .Then" Boom " !
Its a Monday night and I am in the Forum in Kentish town, a venue I first used to visit as a boy when it was the Town and Country Club It had the sweet kiosk and the old lady who used to wonder around selling Fags and ice cream off a small table she used to have hanging round her neck in the interval gaps between bands it had massive tables up at the back of the balcony where people could sit and roll spliffs on and no one could give a dam .Its also the place where Wendy May gave me my 1st taste of what it was like to dance to the genre of music that now is loosely termed northern soul.She used to play Friday night after the bands had finished till if I remember about 2am and if we (I used to drive up with some of my school mates must have been 17 odd when I passed my driving test ) were lucky enough to have been seeing a band that night entry to Wendy May was free .It had a wooden sprung floor too if my memory serves me right .I can remember she used to play Booker t and the Mg s Green onions and It takes 2 baby religiously as sure fire floor fillers .I went and saw both The MGs and the original Blues brothers band. Same band with Eddie Floyd /Cropper /Dunn /Booker if my memory holds right without delving into my draw full of old ticket stubs .So as any reader can tell this place has a massive history with me and ive seen so much in the place I wish I had what I am doing now been archiving the memories ,but that was then and this is now .
Tonight I got up to the venue at about 8pm ish before the Hookworm set (I had missed Beak)and the place was nearly capacity already .The audience was mostly full of white blokes with beards wearing jeans and T shirts (Pixie fan look ) who were in their late 30s to mid 50s with a smattering of youngsters and rock chicks and I managed to get a central position about 10 people back from the front just before Hook Worms started their set .I wont write anything much about them for the simple reason they flat lined me for their entire set and I couldn't wait for them to Finnish But what I will mention they said the same as the Oh Sees did, that the venue had decided to charge them for right (or put a percentage cut on selling Merch off the Merch area next to the gents (It was shuttered up all night .) Both bands must have asked the now stage less Bull and Gate next door if it was OK to sell the stuff there ,and good on them too .They also mentioned if I heard right that the venue (owned by Mama ) had put a massive wack on the door ticket price that night and they were angry that they were screwing the audience so Ive mentioned this in my piece because I hate being fucked over by the industry too If someone who reads this can clarify exactly I will edit so that no innocent party gets blame and the greedy get what they deserve .
So here I am Standing dead center about 8 rows back watching the set change .Theres a skinny woman in black with long hair most probably the stage manager and the stage crew sorting out the gear .John Dwyer is sorting out his own equipment and then the rest of the band come on ,They plug in and then its" Boom," and a massive mosh pit erupts and I am right on the edge of it and I move back a little ,not because Im too scared to mosh but I get gout in my toes from past modern day Jacobean dandy life style and my blue Puma Roma s just wont stop the high chance of my toe joints getting crushed .Within the 1st 30 seconds I knew I would love everything about this band .The guitar (clear resin body)The sound ,the Fender Twin reverb cranked and set to over drive spring reverb perfection . The short lead breaks the Dual drumming the bass runs .The simplicity of it and the honest brutal raw energy of the music .Remember this is my 1st experience of them and I know almost nothing of the bands massive back catalog but I fell in love with them there and then in the Forum I guess King gizz have listened to them a lot and both bands had listened to Roky Erickson (I made sure I saw him, most probably the last time ever anyone will here in the UK, in the same venue a few years back (It wasn't sold out ) and made sure I was close enough to look into Rokys eyes when he screamed ).I took the film footage 2 songs in before the Mosh pit reached its full intensity .There was a middle aged man bald about 5ft 6 built like a scaffolder with a mad look in his eyes ,smashing it with the youngsters. At one point in between songs a massive empty hole appeared, perfectly symmetrical in shape, with one man with his right hand outstretched straight and his fingers touching the sides like electrical contact brushes, walking around and around in a trance like state . Then" Boom" It went off again to the next number like weed killer being mixed with NPK fertilizer .I had spent Saturday night in one of my favorite places Rob Baileys Mouse Trap listening to rare 60's underground psych freak beat for 6 hours solid and a couple of guest Spanish DJs who were playing stuff I hadn t heard before .There s a very direct linage of the Oh Sees to this beautiful proto punk garage made around the same time I was born .The Oh Sees had no back projection ,.they played no encore They had made their statement and I felt like I had just witnessed the pure strain of rock and roll .When I left pouring sweat and smiling from the inside out I wished I had made it into the Bull and Gate but I had to be up for work again at 4.30 am so I got into my car and drove back home